Ghosts of the Desert: Haunted History at Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park was first founded in 1933 as Texas Canyon State Park and later opened to the public in 1944 as a National Park with protected lands and skies. Big Bend is home to many wildlife and diverse landscapes as well as a rich history of people inhabiting the area, bringing lots of stories with them. The area has been the perfect go-between from Texas to Mexico, as it lies right on the border along the Rio Grande. With many centuries of tribes, communities, and travelers living among the land it is no surprise that there are stories hidden in the mountains. The Chisos Mountains, located in the heart of the park, hold some of the most famous spooky legends, which is even more evident when you learn that the name Chisos is a Native American word meaning “ghost” or “spirit”.

Haunted History of Big Bend National Park

Beneath the incredible landscapes and fun activities, there is a haunted history that creates the perfect destination for a spooky desert vacation with the family. With a haunted history within the park itself and surrounding towns filled with abandoned buildings and ruins to walk among, there is so much to see and feel. A few ghost stories and phenomena that surround the area stand out among the thrill-seekers.

Marfa Lights

One of the most talked about mysteries that Big Bend National Park holds is the Marfa Lights. You can spot these unexplained lights just east of Marfa,Texas but people have also witnessed them in and around Big Bend National Park. Some say these floating orbs are shapeshifting witches, others believe that it is the result of underground lightning storms… others just love to live in the mystery of it all. These unexplained lights that sometimes appear in shades of blue and red, but mostly a yellow-white color, have appeared in the sky at night at unexpected times, so consider yourself lucky if you find yourself there on a night that they appear!

Ghost Town of Terlingua

Once a mining town in the 1800s, Terlingua is home to many tragic stories and events that have led to some supernatural sightings down the line. This town, formerly where the Chisos Mining Company resided, comes with a lot of history surrounding the constant boom and bust of the industry over the years. There have been many sightings of ghosts roaming the streets, overall eerie feelings in some abandoned buildings, and even some paranormal encounters. Terlingua is located at the west entrance of the park, and if you are interested in getting some guidance on where exactly to explore, the visitors center offers tours and top spots to stop and see if you feel anything. You can even go during November, to experience Day of the Dead with activities surrounding the cemetery and honoring those who reside there.

Haunted Hot Springs

Along the Rio Grande, there are many thermal springs that you can find. There have been many sightings of figures and strange sounds while people have been enjoying their dip in the hot waters. People who have been relaxing in the springs alone have not felt alone. Shadow figures, strange sounds, and a sudden chill in the air are all accounts of park visitors. The Langford Hot Springs is a popular spot to visit and should definitely be added to your route as this is a beautiful place to see, and the top spring of ghostly sightings.

Campfire Ghost Stories

Gather around the campfire with the whole family and indulge in a night of s’mores, cozy blankets, and ghost stories. This favorite pastime brings everyone together, physically around the campfire as well as creates a bond and memories that will last a lifetime. Surrounded by the Chisos Mountains, you can entertain the kids with many tales, made up on the spot or legendary stories passed down through generations. Big Bend National Park is also a part of the International Dark Sky Association, meaning stargazing is not an activity to miss!

Where to Stay: Chisos Mountains Lodge

What better way to immerse yourself in the heart of the spookiness than staying in the Chisos Mountains. The Chisos Mountains Lodge is open year-round and offers both hotel and motel options as well as the Roosevelt Stone Cottages that are perfect for the whole family. The lodge provides everything you need to explore from accommodations to activities to dining so you can unplug from your phone and let the experts help plan the best stay. If you do need to work during your stay, don’t worry, the lodge does have free WIFI at places in and around the property. Make sure to take advantage of all the hiking, biking, and horseback riding opportunities planned through the lodge!

Plan Your Visit To Big Bend

The haunted history of Big Bend National Park has attracted many visitors over the years, trying to catch a glimpse or feeling of the many stories that roam the lands. The park promises a family-friendly spooky vacation for all ages. The more you read about people’s experiences in and around the park, you are sure to want to see it for yourself. Make sure to book in advance and prepare for a spine-chilling experience at the park.

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